tv The Situation Room CNN October 25, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT
folks, that's late 2007 levels. quick check of the big board. there we go, closing bell. dow closing just above that 13,100 level. amazon and apple both releasing their results after this bell. thanks for watching. wolf blitzer is next. hey, wolf. brooke, thanks very much. happening now, president obama uses some surprisingly coarse language to describe mitt romney. also, romney takes a paying job out of the president's double play book. and a possible real life horror story for the northeastern united states. the pieces are now falling in place for a monster weather event dubbed frankenstorm. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
just a dozen days left in the race for the white house. the candidates, their campaigns are now pulling out all the stops. and so are we. our cnn correspondents are reporting from all of the most critical states in this very, very tight race as president obama and governor romney throw virtually everything in their campaign arsenals at the battleground states. let's start with the obama campaign right now. the president drew a huge crowd in richmond, virginia, today. his most recent stop on a whirlwind two-day eight-state swing that culminates next hour. cnn's chief white house correspondent jessica yellin has the latest. >> reporter: wolf, president obama is moving through his schedule at a healthy clip. he's even running early all so he can get to his hometown of chicago and cast an early ballot for himself. >> thanks for waking up early. >> reporter: fresh off on all-nighter. >> my voice is getting a little hoarse. >> reporter: the president didn't break stride delivering his closing message. >> you know i say what i mean
and i mean what i say. >> reporter: the campaign says it's not too late to make the case governor romney can't be trusted. and they got a boost with a surprise endorsement. >> i voted for him in 2008 and i plan to stick with him in 2012. >> reporter: on cbs's early show, general collin powell echoed the message calling governor romney's positions a "moving target." >> the governor who was speaking monday night at the debate were saying things quite different than what he said earlier. i'm not quite sure which governor romney we would get in respect to foreign policy. >> reporter: in a moment of candor, the president drove home that theme telling rolling stone magazine and historian doug brinkly he thinks governor romney is a "bser" but he's keeping it clean on the trail. >> he's hoping that you come down with a case of what we call romnesia. >> reporter: and picking up his pace. >> just got to keep on keeping
on. until every single person out there who needs to vote is going to go vote. >> reporter: hopscotching from florida to virginia, hometown chicago and ohio. strategies are three. one, turnout the early vote. which their ground operation can move and measure. this new memo from chicago says they think they're winning in firewall, ohio. >> it's up to the young people here to choose the future that you believe in, that you want to see. >> reporter: boost turnout among voting groups already leaning to the president, youth, latinos, union workers. three, woo undecided women including with this new ad. >> and it would be my preference that they reverse row v. wade. >> hopefully reverse row v. wade. >> reporter: and as for that endorsement from general powell, the president said he was grateful and appreciative of it. he had no advance notice it was coming. but after the general announced
it, the president did call him and thank him for it. and he mentioned it here at a rally to the crowd saying it was a deep honor. and no doubt something of a boost to his campaign. wolf. >> no doubt about that. jessica, thank you. mitt romney is focusing in on one of the most critical states for him no republican has ever won the white house without carrying ohio. and that's where the gop nominee is campaigning nonstop on this day. our national political correspondent jim acosta's with the romney campaign in worthington, ohio, right now. what's the very latest, jim? >> reporter: wolf, mitt romney just wrapped up a campaign event here in the columbus area. he's headed next to the northern part of this battleground state. and with most polls showing that he is trailing president obama just slightly in this critical swing state, he is traveling across ohio by bus in the hopes of closing that gap. and he is debuting a new catchphrase for the final stage
of this campaign. and he's hitting it big time. how's this for a role reversal? in ohio mitt romney is declaring he's now the candidate of not just change but -- >> big changes, big changes, big changes. >> reporter: and president obama who won the white house four years ago with the slogan of hope and change is now in romney's view just more of the same. >> the path we're on does not have new answers. the president has the same old answers as in the past. >> reporter: on a bus tour across this critical swing state, romney appears to have settled on a final line of attack. that after months of campaigning, the president has yet to present new ideas to j p jumpstart the economy. >> the obama campaign doesn't have a plan. the obama campaign is slipping because he's talking about smaller and smaller things despite the fact that america has such huge challenges. and that's why on november 6th i'm counting on ohio to vote for
big change. >> reporter: among those smaller things the romney campaign points to comments mr. obama made in the latest issue of "rolling stone" magazine. you know, kids have good instincts, the president said. they look at the other guy and say, well, that's a [ bleep ], i can tell. the romney campaign fired back saying president obama is rattled and on the defensive. he's running on empty and has nothing left but attacks and insults. it's unfortunate he has to close the final days of his campaign this way. >> this fall i'm supporting richard mourdock for senate. >> reporter: but romney's campaign also has been on the defensive this week over his continued support for indiana gop senate candidate richard mourdock who said pregnancies resulting from rape are what god intended. >> can i join you for breakfast here? >> reporter: at a breakfast shop in cincinnati, he ignored questions from reporters. any sudden movement could alter
what is almost a tie in ohio. the latest cnn poll of polls has president obama with a slight edge. but polls also show the president is far ahead among voters who have already cast their ballots. which is why romney and his top surrogates are urging their supporters to get busy. >> at the board of elections right now they're open for business. so how about after this event we get in our cars and we go down to broadway and vote early to be sure we can bank our votes -- >> reporter: now, we should point out that the romney campaign put out a political memo you could call it earlier this afternoon making the case that this race here in ohio is a dead heat. they are not really buying into those polls right now that show the president with a slight advantage. but just in case they lose ohio, they are looking at other swing states like iowa, which explains why mitt romney will be in that state tomorrow delivering what his aides are calling a major speech on the economy.
wolf. >> we'll be watching that speech. i think it's in ames, iowa, tomorrow. jim acosta on the campaign trail for us. thanks very much. later in "the situation room," david axelrod, a senior advisor to the obama campaign, he'll be joining us. we're going to get his reaction to what's going on on the political front today. david axelrod here in "the situation room." meanwhile, mitt romney is getting fund raising help from former vice president dick cheney and the first president bush. a source tells cnn cheney will be the headliner at an event in dallas tonight while george h.w. bush will be on hand for a fundraiser in houston next week. neither romney nor paul ryan will attend the events. for independent voters the debates may have changed everything. our chief political analyst gloria borger is standing by with some revealing brand new poll numbers.
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just four years ago would have been very hard to imagine some of what we're hearing from both mitt romney and president obama right now. let's get an inside look at the candidates and their closing messages with our chief political analyst gloria borger. let me play a little clip from each of these candidates, gloria. sort of summarizing -- summing up their final thoughts. >> our campaign is about big things because we happen to believe that america faces big challenges. we recognize this is a year with a big choice.
and the americans want to see big changes. and i'm going to bring it to this country. >> i told you i'd end the war in iraq. i did. i said we'd transition out of afghanistan, and we are. i said we'd go after those who actually attacked us on 9/11. al qaeda's on the path to defeat, osama bin laden is dead and new towers rising over the new york skyline. our heroes are coming home. i've kept those promises. >> all right. gloria, what do you think? little surprising? similar? what do you think? >> what a difference four years makes, right? when you're the challenger, you run as a candidate of change, president obama last time ran as a candidate of change, there was no incumbent, but he was all about change. this time mitt romney is all about change, promising big change on the campaign trail. and what's the president talking about?
the president is talking about promises kept and moving to the future. what romney's trying to do is say this president it's an unacceptable status quo. and what the president's saying is if you elect him, you're going to go back, not forward. it also helps romney can call himself an outsider because the president is in washington, part of government, part of the gridlock people hate. so it's a very, very different role for the president this time around. >> both of these candidates are really going after the independent voters, the swing voters, those who haven't yet decided. i was intrigued by this "the washington post" abc news poll, these are likely independent voters, the poll taken mostly before the final debate but after the first two presidential debates. how did your impressions change after the debates? 40% for romney said their impressions improved. only 10% for president obama said their impressions improved.
20% said they deteriorated. 18% for romney, what do you make of this? >> well, most people feel that they know president obama. they've seen him for the past four years. so whether or not their impressions improved or changed, they figure they know him. what's important in that is for mitt romney that people started thinking of him better. and that's important because he had to introduce himself to voters. now, when it comes to independents, what i look at and "the washington post" also looked at is the question of who could do better on the economy. and in this same poll romney has a 17-point lead on who's better able to handle the economy with independent voters. now, during the campaign that we've been covering, wolf, the question of who's best able to handle economic problems has been going back and forth and back and forth. if you look at this snapshot -- and, again, it is a very quick snapshot, you'll see that romney has actually made some
improvement on that ground and that his economic message may be getting through. however, independent voters are notoriously fickle. we're not sure where they're going to wind up. >> these are national polls. >> they are. >> and obviously they're interesting. but what's really important are the swing states. >> swing states. >> what do we see if anything from these national numbers in florida or ohio or virginia? >> well, it's really hard to extrapolate. we do get state swing polls. but they're all over the map. and the campaigns are fighting each other about what to read into a poll and whatnot to read into a poll. for example, yesterday "time" magazine had the president up by five points. >> in ohio. >> in the state of ohio. very, very important. the most crucial state. today the national polling director for mitt romney sent out a memo, i just happen to have it here, which pointed out that mitt romney -- that same poll showed that mitt romney was ahead with independent voters 53% to 38%.
he said, well, if that's the case, we're winning this state. here's the thing i love what he wrote. he said "write it down. if mitt romney wins independent voters by 15% in ohio, he'll be the next president of the united states." >> i just wrote it dun. >> write it down. >> thank you. gloria, appreciate it. lisa sylvester is monitoring some other stories in "the situation room" right now. including an outburst of violence across iraq. what's the latest? >> wolf, at least 12 people were killed in a series of shootings and bombings across iraq. daily violence has been largely dropping over the past four years. but last month was the deadliest in two years. the iraqi government blames the violence on insurgents linked to al qaeda. and more good news today for the u.s. housing market. foreclosures fell in nearly two-thirds of the country's biggest markets. realty track says the most markets are past the worst of the housing crisis, but there are still a few trouble spots including several cities in florida. that state was especially hard
hit by the downturn. and the inside of the statue of liberty will be open for business on sunday. the interior has been closed for a year because of renovations to make it more accessible for disabled visitors. the changes will allow 26,000 more people to visit every year. the final cost of the renovations will be about $30 million when they're finished early next year. so the chance for people to go, it should be great. you can get back inside and see what it looks like inside, wolf. >> i've been there, done it. it's great. i'm looking forward to doing it again. lisa, thank you. campaign humor or campaign desperation? our political panel getting ready to take a closer look at president obama's one-liners. that's coming up. [ male announcer ] inside the v8 taste lab.
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>> the snarkness continues. he used a word talking about governor romney we can't use on television. >> bser, he thinks he's just full of it. >> he continues to launch these misdirected attacks at me. he knows they're not accurate and they're not making much progress for them. >> likability is another thing that's kept obama afloat so far in this campaign. >> if anybody comes from ohio to the white house, they will get a hershey bar this big. >> wow. >> it will be huge. >> all right. let's get straight to sirius xm radio host pete dominick and our excellent, excellent panel. pete. >> thank you, wolf blitzer. let's get right to it. likability, what is it? why does it matter if we like these candidates that we're voting for? and how do we measure it? donna, what is likability versus favorability, by the way? i have no idea the difference. >> well, it really goes to the heart of do you want to have a beer or soft drink or even share
a hot dog -- >> a yoo hoo in mitt romney's case. >> or a poor boy sandwich. it's really about trust. it's about do you trust this person to handle these difficult issues especially the presidency. it's one of the decisions most americans don't walk into the booth and say i don't like this guy, it's more like i trust this guy, i believe he will follow through on his promises. >> i think it's a lot more than about trust. i think there's been a change in campaigns in the last few years. we know these guys now. we know these candidates. >> do you like them? >> we know what they eat, we know what their dog's name is, we know their children -- we know everything about them. so you want to like them. because if you don't like them, with as much as we know about them, it's hard to vote for them. and i also think, you know, a lot about the presidency has to do with likability. it helps to be likable if you're negotiating treaties. >> good point. >> it helps to be likable in dealing with foreign diplomats and if you're trying to rally the nation back after some sort
of tragedy. >> what was mitt romney's dog's name again? i'm sorry. >> likability. >> first, we've known a lot about mitt romney. we've been hearing a lot from mitt romney for years. and he's been net unfavorable all year. even now as a race is tightening he still has struggles with likability. i think as people have learned about him, they continue to be unsure if they like him. and in focus groups as a pollster, i do a lot of focus groups around the country and we often ask people things like which candidate would you want to go to the amusement park with your kids or grand kids. we ask questions like that to tap into likability, but ultimately it's more than just that. it's about which candidate do you feel likes you and wants to fight for people like you. >> i think there's truth to that. but there is also sort of a chicken and the egg issue here, right? where voters want to vote for candidates that they like, but they also want to like candidates that they're voting for. one of the things we saw happen with romney's likability numbers after his impressive performance
in the first debate was that they went up. did they go up because people suddenly decided, oh, i guess he wasn't such a bad guy when he closed those factories down running bain? no, they went up because he seemed more like a competent potentially successful president. so people maybe said, well, i guess i should like him. so i think we can, you know, you can parse which comes first. i would be hesitant about putting too much weight on the sort of have a beer with end of the spectrum. i think if a candidate comes across as a, you know, plausible president, people are going to say i like him. >> for 90 minutes he didn't say half of the country feels entitled to food. >> well, that helped too. that's true. >> i wonder sometimes -- i talk to people every day on the radio, i wonder how much we should be measuring hatability. think about 2004, right? liberal democrats weren't inspired and excited about voting for mitt romney, they just hated president bush. and there's a lot of
similarities here -- >> this is the secret of democracy. democracy, we like to talk about it in sort of gauzy terms, but there is a sense in which every election often comes down more to who you hate than who you like. and you end upcoming up with reasons to like your own candidate. >> when president obama wins re-election, the one thing we can be sure of the same people that dislike him and hate him right now they'll be upset because they've been upset for the last four years. i do think there's a lot of stock we put in campaigns in making sure that the candidate comes across as accessible, honest, straightforward, somebody you would like to have as your neighbor. >> certainly we saw the obama campaign put a tremendous amount of resources and stock into the likability issue. they spent millions of dollars over the summer when mitt romney had no money that he could access because he wasn't the nominee yet, they spent a ton of money on tv trying to make him dislikable. and it worked for a very long time. >> it did. this is what's interesting, right, it also maybe hurt obama's likability numbers too.
i mean, there's an interesting dynamic here with -- >> after the republican primary he never -- >> no. >> testifies disliked for a long time. >> i completely agree. but if you look at the obama campaign, if obama wins this election after running what i think even the democrats on this panel would agree has been a slightly more negative campaign than in 2008, it would at least partially confirm -- voters always say they don't like negative campaigning, but it does often work. that sort of cuts against the idea of likability. >> wouldn't it be great if it had nothing to do with likability and had everything to do with their policies and what they presented? wouldn't it be great if it didn't matter that much about their family and what they're interested in? >> no. you want to see a jerk on tv for four years? >> i would rather see a jerk smart on policy. i'm not going to have a beer with anybody. >> there's more to leadership than being smart on policy. there's how you work with others. how you negotiate with congress. how you bring people together and talk about difficult issues
in a way that galvanizes the country. and those things are different from whether or not people agree with a long list of policy descriptions. >> and you're not going to get -- i mean this goes to ana's point that you're not going to get your sort of policies through if you can't actually sit down and work with people in congress. and i think one of the things -- >> you're very unlikable. >> one of the things you hear about the struggles the president's had sometimes getting legislation passed is that he's not as thrilled as bill clinton was to say get on the phone with a congressman or senator. it's not likability per se -- >> campaigning today requires sitting down with your friend oprah, requires going to "the view," going to dave letterman -- >> having unsolicited advice. >> talk about getting on the phone with members of congress. many of them are not -- >> likable themselves. >> all right. we got to take a break. during this break i want everybody watching to decide who they think on our panel's most likable. we'll be right back here on unsolicited advice. vote for me. [ ross ] we are in the dades gorge,
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welcome back to wolf blitzer's "the situation room." i'm pete dominick and our brilliant panel has stolen it to give our unsolicited advice to some unsuspected target. yesterday, ross, you focused on the hobbit. i'm excited to see if you've stepped it up. >> i'm going back to political. my advice is for both republicans and democrats. we have a lot of conflicting poll information out there. there's six new polls every seven minutes and so on. but there are overall patterns. overall obama's performing slightly better than romney in some key state polls and romney's been performing slightly better in obama in national polls. so as a discipline headed into the final couple weeks of the election, i think republicans should only follow state polls for a few days and democrats should only follow national polls just to both sides have a dose of realism that we will all need when we spend two weeks after the election waiting for ohio to count its votes.
>> there will be so much crying. >> let me tell you something, as long as we're not counting in florida, i don't care where else we're counting. >> it's going to be ohio this time. >> it was ohio in 2004, we've had enough of ohio, florida. >> let's go to louisiana. >> you cannot count all of us. >> are we going to know who wins this election at midnight? >> no. i don't think so. in large part because we have several western states that will also help to determine the outcome. >> when i wake up? >> well, given the fact that you don't go to bed until 4:00 a.m. -- >> strong point, donna. marge. >> pete, you've asked me this before. last time you asked me i said if you're a republican candidate for office, don't talk about rape, it's going to end badly. clearly people have not been taking my advice. so now i'm going to re-emphasize that advice and take it to romney and ryan. if you want to lead your party to narrow the gender gap, take a strong stance against rape. what's the problem? don't avoid the question in front of reporters. don't have your staff do it. just take a strong stance against rape. that's step one.
there may be a few steps to go after that to close the gender gap, but i think it's a basic step. >> you don't think they've taken a stance against rape? >> i don't. i just posted -- >> mitt romney has said that -- >> he said i don't want to answer the question. that's what he said. >> we're not talking about rape. >> we were talking about whether or not to have an abortion if you've been raped. >> mourdock's comment was this is something that god intended. and it is something so cruel and such a far fringe thing to say that a majority of americans are just completely turned off by that. and you can tell that romney -- if it's such an obvious thing, why doesn't romney just say what obama said. >> withdraw his endorsement and let it go. like he did with todd akin. i will not campaign in missouri. >> but what mourdock said wasn't remotely like what akin said. >> it wasn't. >> akin said there isn't anything like there's fake rape
and fake pregnancy, mourdock said children who are conceived in rape are equally god's children. >> a gift from god. >> which is god's will as if god is -- >> it would be helpful -- >> we're fabricating an issue here. did he word it poorly? absolutely. was he intending to say the rape was the will of god? no, it's the child. donna -- >> republicans like to say it's because our statements are worded poorly. >> democrats don't do poorly worded segments -- >> ladies, it should be women talking about this issue. but we've got to move on. go ahead, ana. >> my advice is to elected officials, folks running for office. i think they should follow john mccain's example. yesterday when he got asked about the mourdock issue, he said, look, i will support him if he apologizes, if he explains and shows some remorse. mourdock has done that. but i think it was so refreshing to hear john mccain say that. he's the son of a strong woman. he's the husband of a strong woman.
the father of strong women. the friend of strong women. and there's something about apologizing, admitting you said it wrong, explaining it. we've seen too much doubling down in this campaign of things that have been offensive or said in a wrong manner. i'm glad for john mccain. >> well, john mccain is a man of strong convictions and principles. he's also the candidate that four years ago denounced some of the crazy comments that came at those rallies. >> yeah. >> my word of advice, unsolicited as it is, is that there are millions of americans who are casting their votes early including now president obama. i would hope that most americans will take an example from president obama if they can cast their ballot early, i intend to cast my ballot before this nor'easter hit. god forbid if i'm unable to get out of my house to vote. but please if you can vote early, go and vote early. bring all the proper identification so there's no problem with counting your ballot. >> i cast mine ten days ago.
>> i know. thank you for your vote. >> my advice is for mitt romney and president obama, fall on deaf ears with mitt romney, but it would be so nice to hear one of them talk about going after the financial industry. it's crazy how the financial industry has such a choke hold on both of these parties. we have to break up these banks. four banks have over 50% of gdp. we have to bring back this glass ceiling that separates investment and commercial banks. they are too big to fail. dodd frank doesn't go nearly far enough. it's something that we came together as a country after 9/11, but we never came together after what caused the economic collapse to blame the criminals who caused it the financial industry. not everybody in the financial industry, but many, okay. and we need to bring back strong regulation, have referees, it would be great to hear. but they donate so much to campaigns. >> you're not going to hear anything in the next 12 days except the same lines and same
stuff. you're going to hear romnesia until your ears bleed and we get amnesia. >> this was romney's one of his best moments at the presidential debate where he did what you suggested and criticized dodd frank. you're right except there isn't a romney alternative. >> there's one person to break up the banks, jon huntsman. >> i think he's in china eating dumplin dumplings. >> americans could come together on this issue. i wish we would talk more about it and learn to understand it. but you're right. a boy can dream. thank you guys very much. we've got to give it back to another young boy, wolf blitzer. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. excellent discussion. we've got more news coming up here in "the situation room" including some shocking claims by a former biker. he says he became a secret agent and went to incredible lengths to help the cia take out a top terror suspect. north america's natural gas producers are committed to safely and responsibly providing generations of cleaner-burning energy for our country,
it's a tale of espionage and betrayal and even an arranged marriage. nic robertson investigates some remarkable claims by a danish man who says he helped the cia take out a top terror suspect. >> reporter: meet agent storm. >> he's a very likable person. and he seems to me like a chameleon. >> he's really been a double or triple agent so to speak. >> reporter: a former biker, he became a militant islamist, visited yemen several times and befriended a man who would become one of al qaeda's most wanted, cleric anwar al awlaki. then he changed sides and turned
secret agent. storm says he worked for the cia and danish intelligence services. >> it's such an unusual story because it is so rare that two services completely mishandled -- misjudged him. >> reporter: in the movies james bond never gives up his secrets. but storm is telling it all to the danish newspaper jyllands-posten. >> we were scared this could be some kind of a weird trap. we did set up the first meeting one night. on a dark parking lot. >> reporter: the story that includes his part in a cia plot to track down awlaki by finding him a young, blond european
wife. storm says hoefs paid $250,000 to set up anwar al awlaki's wedding. he met a man a cia agent called michael june 7, 2010. he says the agent gave him a briefcase. it was locked. he asked for the combination. the agent told him 007. storm says he opened the case. inside he found $250,000 in cash. to backup his claims, storm not only had a photo of the case of cash but this match making moment. >> this recording is done specifically for sister at her request. and the brother who's carrying this recording is a trustworthy brother. >> it's me. and i just want to tell you that right now i feel nervous and
this is very awkward for me. so i just tape this just to see that you can see how i look. >> when i watched these tapes of video marriage proposals from an al qaeda leader and this woman's answers, i thought, well, this story is impossible to deny. >> reporter: storm says the cia sent him to vienna to meet a croatian convert and he gave her a suitcase with a secret tracking device and got her to yemen to meet anwar al awlaki. he has the hotel bills to prove it. >> we know the company is a danish secret service company. >> reporter: there's more. he hoarded a trove of documents included secret communications with awlaki. and a photo that shows him with his intelligence handlers in a hot tub. his revelations however are not
to everyone's taste. >> it brings danger to i think denmark. it also exposes the very secret, the very essence of intelligence services. and that is means and methods. they never discuss means and methods. >> reporter: so far u.s. officials here in denmark have offered no explanation about storm's claims. and certainly no acknowledgment of the cia agents he claims to have met, michael, alex, jed and george. storm says his final mission was to take a u.s. b thumb drive to yemen. inside it a cia tracking device. he handed it off to an al qaeda. within weeks he was killed in a u.s. drone strike. a week after he was killed storm was angry with the cia. he felt they'd let him down. danish intelligence agents convinced him to come to a meeting here on the seventh of october 2011. storm was recording the
meetings. he met with a cia agent named michael. michael told him president obama knows about you, that important people are aware of what you are doing and we are grateful. >> it's against your honor as american as the super power of the world. >> reporter: the recordings reveal he wanted credit for killing awlaki, but he was told another agency was responsible. the complete meeting was a watershed. >> they had to clean up the mess he's left behind. >> reporter: now storm is in hiding. cnn has been in contact with him. >> he realizes of course that he's in danger. but he also strongly believes that he's been in danger for years. and his analysis is that going public is not worsening his security situation. >> reporter: but his life as a double agent is surely over.
nic robertson, cnn, copenhagen, denmark. >> he has a facebook page suggesting he lives in england. a link to a james bond movie with a comment and i'm quoting now "feels related." a new york city police officer's accused of being nothing less than a monster. and a single mother who lost her commission as an officer is fighting mad and taking on the u.s. air force.
allegedly aspired to become a cannibal? what's going on? >> this is a wild story, wolf. prosecutors in new york are accusing a police officer of absolutely heinous crimes. they say he plotted to kidnap, rape, torture and eventually eat a number of women. charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and one count of illegally accessing a national crime database. there's no evidence he's harmed anyone wu the investigation is ongoing. and the meningitis grout break is growing. 11 new cases in the past 24 hours. this brings the total number to 328 cases with two dozen deaths. the fda lists more than 3,000 medical facilities across the u.s. that have received potentially tainted drugs. and it is urging patients who received those drugs be alerted. and a single mother who lost her commission is accusing the air force of discrimination. she was sworn in as a second lieutenant after graduating from
marquette university on scholarship. but a short time before graduating she found out she was pregnant. and the service forbids single mothers from enlisting. the air force says her case is under review, but she has already been accused of fraud. we'll have to see how that turns out. >> watch it together with you. thanks, lisa. donald trump provides political fodder for some late night tv talkers out there. we're taking a closer look at the latest campaign humor. >> speculation rampant. was it a long-rumored obama divorce papers proof that obama's white half is also black? no. even bigger, folks. trump dropped a ten-mega-trump bombshell. re... on what matters? re... on what matters? maybe your bank account is taking too much time and maybe it's costing too much money. introducing bluebird by american express and walmart. your alternative to checking and debit. it's loaded with features, not fees. because we think your money should stay where it belongs.
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the presidential election is a gift to comedians everywhere. donald trump gave them his own version of an october surprise. >> i will give to a charity of his choice a check immediately for $5 million. one caveat, the records must be given by october 31st at 5:00 in the afternoon. >> that's right. he has to have it by 5:00 on halloween. because that night he's renting out his enormous orange head as a jack-o-lantern. >> i don't know. i think people get a little tired of donald. well, here, show what happened during the announcement. >> if barack obama opens up and gives his college records and
applications, and if he gives his passport applications -- >> he offered the president of the united states a charity gift of $5 million if the president would release his college transcripts. i believe we have the footage of the announcement of trump making that. >> donald trump called president obama and said i'll give you $5 million if you can release your college records and your passport. here's $5 million. release your college records and your passport. and i said, hey, don, i'll give you $5 million if you release that thing on your head. let it go. let it run free. go on. >> he gets a spray tan before major campaign events. i guess that explains romney's new secret service code name the
mittuation. yesterday obama visited the swing state of ohio for the 17th time this year. 17 times, people are so used to seeing him they're like oh, hi, oh. >> experts say the entire 2012 election could come down to just eight states. the states are confusion, dismay, depression, apathy, shock, disbelief, despair and anxiety. it's been a busy, busy day for the president. president obama is traveling 5,300 miles in just one day. that breaks the previous record set by lance armstrong on his bicycle. >> the first lady will be a guest on our show tomorrow. she'll be here to encourage people to vote and also to promote her new reality show "america's next top lady." i'm excited to get a chance to
interview mrs. obama and even more excited about partying with her secret service agents after the show. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, it's being called a frankenstorm. new fears that a powerful hurricane that's been wreaking havoc in the caribbean could merge with another storm that hammered the united states' east coast. in a dead heat with only a dozen days until the election, democrats call in the heavy artillery. can bill clinton help pull this one out for president obama? and 1,000 miles from the conflict between israel and hamas, explosions level an arms factory in sudan. did israel destroy weapons long before they could reach gaza? we want to welcome our viewers from around the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
all that coming up. but we begin with today's very unusual warning from the national hurricane center. today's forecast says hurricane sandy could merge with another weather system along the u.s. east coast and turn into what they are calling a frankenstorm just in time for halloween. these are live pictures from south florida right now. cnn meteorologist and severe weather expert chad myers has the updated forecast which has just come in. chad, what does it say? >> yeah, the 5:00 advisory, wolf, still has us at 105 miles per hour although i haven't seen that type of gust with the hurricane hunter for the past couple of hours. a new plane is headed to the center of the storm. we've also lost the eye. when the eye went over cuba, we had a wind gust to 118 miles per hour right there just to the west of gitmo. the storm dies off when it hits land, bigger when it's on water.
now it's back into the water. it will get bigger and stronger for a while. and then it will begin to lose some punch because we are going to see some dry air, we're going to see some shear, this is a late season storm but the water is still warm enough to support a hurricane all the way through the end of the period. and this will make landfall somewhere in the united states. now, a couple of the models -- i'll show you in a second, take it all the way up into the maritimes but could be all the way into the carolinas or as far north as maine the center somewhere along the i-95 corridor. that would do so much damage. this would be a billion-dollar-damage storm if worst case scenario really does happen. there is that potential. now, a couple days ago we showed you the models. wolf, i know you were here. you watched it. they all turned out to sea except one. the european model. now they're all coming back on shore and the european model's right in the middle. tell you what, all these computers, it could be anywhere from boston, halifax all the way down to norfolk, virginia.
wherever it hits, it's going to be an 80 or 90-mile-per-hour storm. that's still a big storm even though it's the end of hurricane season or near it. >> if it hits the washington, d.c. area where i am, i'm going to lose power quickly. have to check into a hotel if i can find one. what should people be doing now, chad, to prepare for this? >> maybe get a couple batteries. get some candles ready. this could be -- if this storm does merge like it's forecast to be, people are relating it to a perfect storm or the perfect storm from 1991. that storm was a big low that was going to make snow that sucked in a hurricane. this is a hurricane that's going to really suck in another big cold front or another low pressure system. so it's the exact opposite of what was the perfect storm but close enough. you still get this what we call hybrid with winds 80 miles per hour or 90 miles per hour over the megalopolis. power is going to be out for a long time. think about what it would take if on monday you had a camp
until friday in your house. no power, no water, whatever. think about camping. those are the things you want to have available for your family. water and things like that. maybe some charcoal, make sure you have propane in your tank, generators if you have one, i'm sure they're flying out of the stores right now. all those little things you can think of. we're four days in advance. you have plenty of time. but if you can do it slowly and do it progressively as the storm gets closer, at least you'll be ready when it does get here. >> by november 6, 12 days from now, i assume it will all be over whatever happens and the fallout. people will be able to vote, power will be back. am i overly optimistic? >> i think you're overly optimistic if the worst case scenario does happen. if we get on land winds 80 miles per hour over a wide area from the adirondacks all the way down toward d.c., certainly all of that power would not be back on yet. i guess one of those things i didn't mention because i wasn't
really personal safety, but maybe just go early vote. >> early voting is a good idea always. thanks very much, chad. we'll stay in very close touch with you. frankenstorm as they're calling it. only a dozen days are left in the presidential race and the candidates are doing all they can to try to make a difference. mitt romney is in the crucial swing state of ohio. president obama's hitting three battleground states today. minutes from now the president will also appear in his home state of illinois to cast his early ballot. meantime, his campaign is calling in the heavy artillery. that would be the former president of the united states, bill clinton. our white house correspondent brianna keilar is joining us from chicago right now where the president's getting ready to vote. what's the latest, brianna? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. they will be campaigning together the first time of this cycle on monday going into a crucial week for president obama. and president obama highlighting his relationship with the popular former president telling rolling stone magazine that our
relationship is terrific, i'm talking to him regularly and he's giving me good advice. i spoke a short time ago with a source close to president clinton who said they are getting along very well, they have been speaking more and president obama really needs this especially when you consider the latest gallup favorable poll has him at 52%, for president clinton, 17 points higher. for president obama, there is no more powerful surrogate than president clinton, something he acknowledged to "rolling stone" in an interview released today. the last time we had healthy broad-based growth is when he was president and people can remember that. so he can say things that people immediately grab on to, obama told the magazine. that's why clinton stars in campaign ads. >> president obama has a plan to rebuild america from the ground up. >> reporter: he headlines fundraisers and rallies. this one last week with bruce springsteen. and for the first time monday, he and president obama will hit the campaign trail together visiting florida, ohio and
virginia as they kick off the last full week before election day. >> he has particular appeal in the african-american community. and i would guess among suburban women the kind of folk who is are torn. i think bill clinton could enter this decision and be a significant asset for the president. >> reporter: of course it hasn't always been a rosy relationship. in may clinton undercut the obama campaign's main argument, that mitt romney's business experience does not qualify him to lead the country. >> a man who's been governor, had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold. >> reporter: and back in 2007 as then senators hillary clinton and barack obama went head-to-head in the democratic primaries, bill clinton took aim at obama's inexperience. >> i mean, when's the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the senate before he started running? >> reporter: in early 2008 obama won iowa and entered an all-out feud with the former first couple. >> i'm here.
he's not. >> reporter: but fast forward four years. clinton gave one of the most rousing speeches in support of obama at the convention. >> i want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside. but who burns for america on the inside. >> reporter: and that, wolf, as you know has very much been president clinton's role for president obama testifying in a way on his behalf. and shortly after clinton gave that speech at the convention president obama joked about a suggestion he got that he should appoint clinton to his cabinet as the secretary of explaining things, wolf. >> good report, brianna. we're showing our viewers a live picture from chicago. this is the martin luther king community center in chicago. it's the first congressional district, congressman bobby rush's district. the president of the united states we're told has now arrived there. he's going to be walking in
fairly soon and voting, getting ready to vote. i assume we know who he's going to vote for for president of the united states. but he's also going to vote for local elections, statewide elections. he's got some voting to do. so we'll watch this picture, see what unfolds. where does he go, brianna, from here after he leaves chicago? >> reporter: after this, wolf, he's going to be making another campaign stop. he's made two today as you know. and, actually, i'm having a hard time keeping track of them. but next he's going to be heading to -- >> i think he spends the night -- >> ohio, wolf. >> i think he spends the night in washington. eventually he winds up at the white house tonight. >> reporter: that's right. a very long day heading to ohio which will be his third stop. he came from red i last night. it's interesting he's voting here in illinois which began early voting on monday. but of course it's not really illinois voters he's talking to. he's really talking to the
voters of ohio and also florida where he was earlier today. florida begins early voting on saturday. ohio, it's been going -- early voting's been underway for a while there. this is really him trying to lead by example. it's in a way almost an advertisement for how you go about early voting and reminding people, if he's doing it, they should be heading out to do it too, wolf. >> this relationship that the current president has with the former democratic president bill clinton is a very, very sensitive subject. our own contributor ryan lizza has written extensively on it. he's going to be joining us. we'll wait to see what happens when the president shows up. he's there some place inside that building right now, the martin luther king community center in chicago. we'll have a picture of him voting. you can see all the political operatives there. they're getting ready for the president of the united states. we want you to feel even better about your favorite flavors. so when you call, tweet, and post, we listen. that's why yoplait light and yoplait original
the president is getting ready to vote. the woman behind the counter just asked for a photo id of the president of the united states. he took out his wallet. took something out looked like a driver's license. he made the comment something along the lines ignore the grey hair that he currently has. let's listen in a little bit, see if we can eavesdrop on the president. >> don't have to take off time from work. they can arrange it around their schedule. really good. really important. we appreciate you guys. >> thank you. >> thank you. we appreciate you too. very very much. here you go. >> i did. i drove around the south lawn.
it was fun. i couldn't go more than 25 miles an hour. did you just look and see? did you just see that? how about that? thank you. >> it's a lot of pressure, isn't it? okay. so i put this in -- >> yes. they'll direct you from here, sir. >> i'm sure you're familiar with the machine. >> all right. so the president's got his card. he's going to insert it and go ahead and vote. there's a whole bunch of
candidates out there including himself that he's going to vote for. we obviously have no idea who he's going to vote for in some of the other districts. i assume it's going to be democrats all along the way. you never know. he could vote for anyone he wants. it's a secret ballot in chicago. ryan lizza is here, our contributor from the "new yorker" magazine reported extensively on the president. brianna keilar is still with us as well. as we await the president, i want to hear what he says after he finishes voting. it could take a while. a bunch of candidates out there that he's probably voting for. ryan, this relationship that he's had with bill clinton, he's bringing bill clinton pretty aggressively in the final few days. what does he hope bill clinton can achieve for him? >> one thing to point out, wolf, before i get to that is one of the people on the ballot i mentioned before is bobby rush. it's a week of old rivals for president obama. bobby rush is still the only candidate that's ever beaten barack obama in an election.
>> he's the incumbent democratic congressman from the first congressional district in chicago. >> that's right. in fact, after redistricting in illinois, bobby rush and some of the other democrats actually carved obama's house out of that district so he couldn't challenge him the next time around. you know, bill clinton what he brings, one, he's the best communicator in the democratic party. which i think partially is an indictment of some of the other democrats because there seems to be a general consensus that clinton makes the case better for this white house and the president than anyone else can. and then as stu was talking in the piece before, he's very strong with some of the demographic groups that the president needs right now, one, women. romney's picked up some support among women since that first debate. and obama's battling to win some of them back. and a second group would be some
of the older voters, older male voters obama's really struggled with the last few years. and clinton's pretty good going down there to florida and making the case for obama among those folks as well. >> and despite four years ago when they had a slightly strained relationship when hillary clinton was running for the democratic presidential nomination, i think their relationship has improved. and i know from my own inside sources former president clinton is ready to help do whatever the campaign asks him to do. we're watching the president vote as other citizens are doing in that first congressional district in chicago. and around the country. you know, it's interesting, ryan, the president decided to do this early, go to chicago early, make this side trip from the battleground states, illinois not being one of those battleground states. he could have voted on election day when he'd be back in chicago, but i think the goal right now is to encourage folks all over the country to engage in early balloting because the democrats think they have an
advantage on this front. do they? >> yeah. the obama campaign is absolutely obsessed with organizing around early voting in these swing states. i was in chicago recently, wolf, doing some interviews and i sat down with jim mes sin na. one of the first things he did was look at this and showed me a chart of all the swing states and the early voting deadlines and the percentages in 2008. showed how many voters voted early and how many people showed up and voted on election day. and places like colorado and nevada already more than a majority in 2008 were voting early rather than on election day. and they're goal is to get some of those other states in that territory. they want to find the sporadic voters. the voters that are tough to target. and they want to get them voting early. so on election day their job's a little easier. they can just stick to polling to the polls the more partisan
democrats, the ones that are more reliable. so it's really changed everything now, wolf. this sort of ground game that happens at the end of these elections is now almost a month long rather than just that final day. >> looks like the president's having one issue. he's asked for some advice it looks like from one of the workers there at that polling station in chicago. he's been going through and been asking -- let's listen in. >> is that your wife? >> no. that's my wife, sir. >> always take that phone call.
>> it looks like they're working on a little technical issue. i'm not exactly familiar with obviously but there could be some issue at that polling station in chicago. brianna keilar is on the scene in chicago for us. our white house correspondent, brianna, the stay in chicago's going to be relatively brief. i don't know what else -- does he have any other events in chicago besides voting? >> reporter: no. this is the whole point of his visit to chicago. illinois not a battleground state, wolf. right now where you see him voting, this is about a mile and a half from his home in the hyde park kenwood neighborhood. he's come here to illinois just really to vote. you heard him speak. this really struck me when we took the president live as he was starting to talk to the poll workers and he said -- >> hold on one second, brianna.
>> reporter: actually, let's listen in. >> people who have not yet early voted, i just want everybody to see what an incredibly efficient process this was thanks to the outstanding folks who are at this particular polling place. obviously folks in illinois can take advantage of this. but all across the country we're seeing a lot of early voting. it means you don't have to figure out whether you need to take time off work, figure out how to pick up the kids and still cast your ballot. if something happens on election day, you will have already taken care of it. if it's bad weather, you won't get wet. or in chicago, snowy. but this was really convenient. i can't tell you who i voted for. but i very much appreciate everybody here. it's good to be home back in the neighborhood. chuck. good to see all our local press. we appreciate you guys.
let's take a picture with everybody. is that allowed? we got to figure out whether this is -- i think it's allowed. all right. i think it's allowed. i think it's all right. but i can't -- you guys got to -- you can't be behind the -- let me shake everybody's hands here. what's your name? good to see you. nice to see you again. nice to see you, sir. okay. >> all right. so the president doing a little campaigning it looks like over there with the workers. he's going to take a photo. we see the official white house photographer over there as well having a good time making a pitch for early voting. and as we've been pointing out, brianna, the white house, the obama campaign, they really believe this early voting is going to benefit the democrats as opposed to the republicans. >> reporter: they do. and this is a carefully orchestrated moment, wolf, which is the president starring himself in almost this how-to guide on how to early vote.
that's what really strikes me. he's touting the benefits of it. and this is because his campaign feels that they really have the advantage. they've stressed early voting a lot historically. republicans have stressed absentee voting. and by stressing the early voting and really trying to bring a democratic heavy turnout, it allows the campaign to try and claim that they have some momentum, that they have enthusiasm. and sometimes as you know these things are cyclical. you claim enthusiasm, maybe you create enthusiasm. that's part of what they're trying to do here. and the way they feel, wolf, they think there's no one better to really carry the message of exactly how to early vote than the president himself. and, yes, he's in illinois. but who's he talking to? he's talking to voters in ohio where early voting is underway and florida where voting begins on saturday. >> i don't think he has to worry about carrying his home state of illinois. he'll carry illinois. he's taking some pictures with the volunteers and staff over
there at the polling station, the martin luther king community center in chicago. that's the first congressional district in chicago. the president of the united states taking a picture. we're watching all of this. ryan lizza's been with us. brianna keilar's been with us. let's take a quick break. we have a lot more news coming up including major developments happening in africa and the middle east. a weapons factory is bombed in sudan. why it could be the latest example of israel's long reach in a shadow war with iran. bayer? this isn't just a headache. trust me, this is new bayer migraine. [ male announcer ] it's the power of aspirin plus more in a triple action formula to relieve your tough migraines. new bayer migraine formula. in a triple action formula to relieve your tough migraines. when we got married.
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did israel destroy weapons long before they could reach gaza? brian todd has been looking into this story for us. what are you finding out? >> wolf, there are indications that the israelis may have done that. if they did, it has a wider reach than just israel and hamas. this is likely part of a wider covert war that also involves iran. a series of big explosions overnight in the sudanese capital. what was this facility? >> translator: an explosion occurred in one of the ammunition depots at the military of industrialization factory. >> reporter: a weapon-making factory. witnesses tell cnn they saw planes above the facility at the time of the incident tuesday night. one said he saw a plane leading with bright lights, then a second plane fired a rocket. sudanese officials say two people were killed. the information minister says "we think israel did the bombing." cnn cannot independently verify
that claim. there is a chance the sudanese aren't telling the truth given the history in the region of blaming israel for many things. the israelis aren't talking. here's israel's defense minister. >> translator: i have nothing to say about that. >> how do you interpret that remark? >> well, the israelis are not denying they were involved in this. so i take that as kind of a wink, semi-acknowledgment. >> he says if the israelis did this, it would be the latest chapter in what he calls a war in the shadows between israel and the u.s. on one side and iran and its allies like sudan on the other. he and other analysts believe that iran may have either been assisting in the production of weapons at that factory or smuggling weapons through sudan over land through egypt to gaza where they wind up in the hands of israel's enemy, the militant group hamas. leaked cables published by wikileaks indicate u.s. and
israeli officials also believe that. one cable from the u.s. and tel aviv in april of 2009 says of the weapons flow to hamas the egyptians know that the arms pipeline runs from iran to sudan to egypt. >> seems pretty clear hamas is continuing to receive arms. and not just hamas, these other groups, these more radical jihadist groups involved in the shooting rockets at israel. so the iranians have been trying to get arms from libya to gaza. they're getting arms via sudan to gaza. >> contacted by cnn an official at iran's mission to the u.n. strongly rejected what he called those baseless allegations. we tried repeatedly but could not get sudanese officials in washington and at the u.n. to respond to the claims that their country is working with iran to smuggle weapons to hamas. wolf. >> is widespread an assumption that this would not necessarily be the first time israel has struck inside sudan. >> that's right, wolf. there are strong indications
they have done that before. in 2009 at least one convoy carrying weapons in sudan was targeted from the air. it was widely believed that israel carried out that strike to disrupt a flow of weapons to gaza. and last year an air strike killed two people in a car in port sudan in both incidents -- well, in the latest incident last year, those people were believed to be weapons traffickers. in neither incident did israel comment one way or the other. they didn't confirm nor deny it. >> they're not saying anything right now. we invited israeli officials to come on the show. they declined at least for now. >> they don't often talk about these. >> i heard ehud barack say on national television he has nothing to say about this. >> exactly. mitt romney's campaign is hiring more than 100 officials for his transition to the white house. is that a little too optimistic at this point? ari fleischer and hilary rosen are standing by.
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let's get to our strategy session. joining us democratic strategist hilary rosen and ari fleischer, he was the white house press secretary during the george bush administration. both are cnn contributors. guys, thanks for coming in. let me pick your brain, ari, i'll go to you first, the comment the president made in the new issue of "rolling stone" magazine. he used a bad word. he said "kids have good instincts and they look at the other guy and say, well, that's a bull." the interview will air in the next hour, but listen to what david said. >> well, i think he was referring to the practice of sliding around trying to change positions to offering yourself as a champion for the middle class when your policies would pummel the middle class, trying to walk away from positions in the eleventh hour. >> he's basically saying he's a
flip-flopper a chameleon. you can't trust a word he's saying. what do you say, ari? >> wolf, i don't like it. i don't like it one bit. i'm old fashioned about these things and i don't think you swear when you're talking to a reporter. you just don't if you're the president of the united states. it's one thing in private among people that you know. everybody does it. but when you're the president, you are a role model. and when you're talking to a reporter, i'm very surprised president obama is disciplined. he dropped his guard. he dropped his discipline. it's not the presidency, it's below his office. >> he was talking to doug brinkley, hilary, what do you say? >> oh, i say this is much a do about nothing. he was talking about kids. i think he was being loose. kids say the darnedest things and president talking about kids try and relate. but there's lots of news today that's actual news. and when we look at things like the president having the endorsement again of colin
powell, the most decorated independent in the country saying that romney actually is a moving target. so, you know, the facts are the facts. when they're said by respected people, that he actually can't be trusted to speak correctly and consistently on issues as important as foreign policy, which obviously general powell knows a lot about. i think we could complain about the president saying it, but really the substance of his charge is one that's sticking pretty well. >> but, hilary, i think you'll agree that it's inappropriate for a president to use that word at least in public. >> well, yeah. but i just don't see it as a big issue at this point. >> let me play a clip for you. >> just say it. you don't have to distance yourself. >> i want you to respond, but i'll play the clip from colin powell this morning when he explained why he wants president obama re-elected. i'll remind you and our viewers, you served with then-secretary
of state powell during the first term of the bush administration. listen to this. >> not only am i comfortable with what governor romney is proposing for his economic plan, i have concerns about his using foreign policy. the governor who was speaking monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different than what he said earlier. i'm not quite sure which governor romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy. >> all right. ari, i'll let you respond. >> well, you know, look. i think the only issue is, does this matter? does it have impact on the voters? in 2008 colin powell's endorsement was a really moving event because a lot of people were judging is barack obama up to the standard of this job, people wanted change, is barack obama ready? and colin powell was the good housekeeping seal of good approval. but everything's different now. i think when colin powell says about a sitting president, it doesn't have that much impact. him saying that about mitt romney, you know, these types of criticisms or endorsements from
third parties even those as represented as colin powell just don't have that much impact in politics anymore. this race is really between the president and the governor. and it's up to the two of them to hit the finish line. i don't really think there's anybody in politics today who can push somebody across the finish line other than themselves. >> hilary, i want to move on, but i suspect if general powell had endorsed mitt romney it would have been a different analysis. but let's move on. this was intriguing to me. i read it earlier this morning in politico. and i knew something was going on. i didn't appreciate how much was going on. hilary, the romney campaign now has more than 100 people already working aggressively on a transition between november 6th and january 20th if romney wins. and he's sworn in as the next president of the united states. is that overly optimistic? is that business as usual? they've got office space galore. they're looking at resumes, they're getting ready for a win. >> well, there's actually in
government a fairly routine process for this. i'm not going to fault the romney campaign for doing what they ought to be doing which is if they did win, you know, you'd want as a country them to be ready to start. what i find unamusing and really silly is that they're sort of publicizing their boastful expectations of winning and suggesting that, you know, this is somehow maybe all but over. they're certain they're going to win. and to make the connection between the two. so, yes, it's a appropriate to have quiet thoughtful planning. every presidential candidate did it including barack obama. but to tie it to this sort of we're all but measuring the curtains right now, folks, this election's over, when it is president obama clearly ahead in enough battleground states to give him the electoral votes. i find that distasteful.
>> you hear a lot of democrats like hilary, ari, say this is just psychological warfare. they're trying to project a win is eminent but not based on reality. >> i think hilary is half right. this is good government. and which is a statute passed by the congress and signed by the president, i don't remember if it was president bush or president obama, but it was the law of the land to give them the taxpayer funds before the election, so if a challenger wins or an open seat whoever wins can hit the ground running and serve the country. but, you know, i don't think the romney people were bragging or boasting. i think this was entrepreneurial reporting. i think a reporter wrote up a smart story about this. the romney people are not bragging about it. i know them. they're very superstitious. this type of thing they know is not where their focus is. in fact, it's a lot of different people. it's not the campaign people who are part of the transition. they hope to become part of the transition. but it really is something they're not looking at or focused on. a reporter broke a good story, an interesting story, but it's not right to say the romney people are measuring curtains.
they're doing everything they can in 12 days to win an election. >> mike lovett, the former secretary of health and human services, a republican obviously is heading that transition for the romney campaign. guys, thanks very much for coming in. >> okay. thank you. president obama has a hefty advantage when it comes to latino voters. we know that. but that might not necessarily matter in florida. how the obama campaign may be making a risky bet. we'll explain when we come back. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade.
john, you wrote in your daily beast column that the president is making a risky bet when it comes to targeting voters. how is that playing where you are in florida? >> well, wolf, i'll tell you, yesterday "des moines register" came out and said if president obama is elected it will be due to the latino voters and mitt romney has alienated them. here in florida stakes couldn't be higher. 22.9% of the population is latino. up 400,000 from four years ago. florida is an especially complex state. the south famously cuban, conservative. up north in the central part of the state, i-4 corridor, a lot of latin american and puerto rico citizens. they tend to vote democratic. we have a tipping point. more registered democrat than republican for the first time, but it is a big risky bet. it's one of the many factors at play here when you're calculating ground game and outreach to core supporters.
>> john, the economy in middle parts of florida, northern part of florida, showing signs of improvement. but voters you've been talking to i understand are still split pretty evenly, aren't they? >> they really are, wolf. for the undecideds we've spoken to are largely informed voters and the economy is foremost on their mind. here in florida you hear something you hear around the country, a sense, yes, the economy is improving. the worst is behind us. but a lot of voters are frustrated at the pace of the recove recovery. the folks leaning obama maybe he needs four more years to implement his plan. he seems to have taken us out of the worst. on the other hand folks leaning romney say it's not improving fast enough. time to hire a businessman to finish the job, mitt romney. that's the kind of rhetoric you've been hearing. what they all say, no matter who wins this election, we have to find a way to work with congress and get washington working together again after this dev e
devisive. >> john, thank you. a medical firm now stands accused of paying doctors who wrote favorable articles in medical journals. we have the alarming results of a congressional investigation. i don't think we have to teach innovation. i just think you have to coax people out of their fear of trying to innovate. everybody has creative abilities, but people just don't express them. i mean, i see people come in here that are afraid to try anything. you give them some classes and some encouragement and they have some success with their product and you see them just change. you see them light up. you see them say, wow, i really can do this. this is stunning. they're stunned. let's say you want to get ahead in your career.
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a major manufacturer of medical equipment used in spine surgery is being accused of actually writing favorable articles in medical journals of one of its back surgery products, a gel used in about 100,000 surgeries a year. a senate finance committee report released today also says the company paid huge amounts of money to some of the doctors who supposedly co-wrote the articles. drew griffin of special investigation unit tried to track down one doctor who pocketed millions. drew is joining us right now. so, what happened, drew? >> wolf, his name is thomas and according to his staff at the university of wisconsin, he was supposed to show up at the
national conference spine society in dallas yesterday. he didn't show. has yet to return any of our calls. he heads the university's orthopedics department was paid $34 million alone from 1996 through 2010. he's one of the dozen doctors paid by the company medtronic. according to the university of wisconsin, made the money based on pattons and royalties from a piece of surgical equipment he developed, not from those articles. the senate said he co-authored articles that the senate believed misled the public and, in fact, wolf, the senate said the artaicals were written by medtronic marketing department, not the doctors. denying the allegations, but the editor of the spine journal, which first reported much of this back in june of last year says the investigation is a black eye on all spine surgeons
and medical journals for that matter. it shouldn't be tolerated. >> the question of clinical review and the question of hoal review it. the senate said they specifically thought that one of the journals, the journal that i'm the editor of may have been specifically mislead in the review process. >> what would you say to the doctors, many a of whom are here right now. who are paid millions and millions and, in some cases, tens of millions of dollars to put their stamp on what we now know are inadequate, incomplete or misleading articles? >> well, i think it's sad. i don't think we lived up to the expectations as a profession. reviewing the articles to publication and being an author and i think it would be hard to
say that it is ethical in today's environment to have that sort of input from a sponsor. >> wolf, among the information that was downplayed or missing was evidence that this treatment infuse could cause cancer, sterility and in some cases lethal swelling of the throat in off label usage. medtronics disagrees with many of the findings but the senate calling for complete transparency in medical journals. in other words, wolf, if a doctor is getting paid $34 million by a medical company to review that medical company's profits that, said the senate, should be disclosed. wolf? >> i heard similar things, maybe not as outrageous over the years. how widespread is this problem? >> you know, it's hard to tell, but we've seen many cases, especially in major drug company cases that the u.s. department of justice has prosecuted where some of this information is or is not being passed on to doctors and other journals of medicine based on whether or not
it will paint that product in a good light or bad light. especially when you have doctors finances tied to the product, they're saying it just should not be done. >> drew, thanks for that report. the cromney campaign says h is diminishing the office of the candidacy. what is david axelrod's response? you'll find out. maybe your bank account is taking too much time and maybe it's costing too much money. introducing bluebird by american express and walmart. your alternative to checking and debit. it's loaded with features, not fees. because we think your money should stay where it belongs. with you. the value you expect. the service you deserve. it feels good to bluebird. get it at your local walmart. i was skeptical at first. but after awhile even my girlfriend noticed a difference. [ male announcer ] rogaine is proven to help stop hair loss. and for 85% of guys, it regrew hair. save up to 42% now at rogaine.com.
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in "the situation room." two different ground games from the presidential candidates. president obama going wide with events in florida, ohio and detour to chicago to cast his vote. mitt romney is zeroing in on what could be the most important battleground state, ohio. he has three rallies, he has rallies there in three cities today. jessi jessica yellin and jim aacosta are in ohio. jessica is covering the obama campaign. a very busy day for the president, including a big endorsement and a new slap at romney. jessica? >> hi, wolf. we are back in ohio. the president's second stop in this state as part of his battleground blitz and his team is saying, don't pay attention to the public polls. they say so many public polls out there, soon there will be an outback steakhouse poll.
that's what one of his advisors told me. internally their polls say they're leading among women voters and either leading or tied in all six of the battleground states we visited. >> thanks for waking up early. >> fresh off an all-nighter -- >> my voice is getting a little hoarse. >> reporter: the president didn't break stride delivering his closing message. >> you know i mean what i say and i mean what i say. >> reporter: the campaign says it's not too late to make the case governor romney can't be trusted. and they got a boost with the surprise endorsement. >> i voted for him in 2008 and i plan to stick with him in 2012. >> reporter: on cbs "early show" general colin powell echoed the message calling governor romney's positions a "moving target." >> the governor who was speaking on monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier. i'm not quite sure what governor romney we would get with respect
to foreign policy. >> reporter: in a moment of candor, the president drove home that theme telling "rolling stone" magazine, he thinks governor romney is but keeping it clean on the trail. >> he hopes you come down with a case of what we call romnesia. >> reporter: and picking up his pace. >> i'm just going to keep on keeping on. until every single person out there who needs to vote is going to go vote. >> reporter: hopscotching from florida to virginia, hometown chicago and ohio. strate strategies, there are three. one, turn out the early vote which their ground operation could move and measure. this new memo from chicago says they think they're winning it in firewall ohio. >> it's up to the young people here to choose the future that you believe in. that you want to see. >> reporter: two boost turnout among voting groups already leaning to the president. youth, latinos, union workers.
three, woo undecided women, including with this new ad. >> wouldn't be my preference that they reverse roe v. wade. >> overturn roe v. wade. >> reporter: now, wolf, the president cast an early ballot in his hometown of chicago demonstrating that it is an easy, no-fuss way to make sure you vote is cast in case you're busy on election day and can't get to the polling place. bottom line there, their early vote theory is they think they have the numbers, they just need to drive the turnout, wolf. >> the president did vote early in chicago. jessica, thanks very much. the romney camp says the president has nothing left to give on the campaign trail, but insalts. let's go over to kate bolduan. >> our national political correspondent jim acosta is
traveling with romney, literally traveling with romney on the bus right there. hey there, jim. ♪ >> reporter: how is this for a role reversal. mitt romney is now declaring he is the candidate of not just change -- >> but big changes. >> big changes. >> reporter: and president obama who won the white house four years ago with the slogan of hope and change is now in romney's view, just more of the same. >> the path we're on does not have new answers. the president has the same old answers as in the past. >> reporter: on a bus tour across this critical swing state romney appears to have settled on a final line of attack, but after months of campaigning, the president has yet to present new ideas to jump start the economy. >> obama campaign doesn't have a plan. the obama campaign is flipping because he's talking about smaller and smaller the things, despite the fact that america has such huge challenges and that's why on november 6th i'm
counting on ohio to vote for big change. >> reporter: among those smaller things, the romney campaign points to comments mr. obama made in the latest issue of "rolling stone" magazine. kids have good instincts, the president said. they look at the other guy and say, well, i can tell. the romney campaign fired back saying, "president obama is rattled and on the offensive. he is running on empty and has nothing left but attacks and insults. it's unfortunate he has to close the final days of the campaign this way." over his continued support, including this ad for indiana gop senate candidate richard mourdock who said pregnancies resulting from rape are what god intended. >> can i join you for breakfast. >> reporter: romney ignored questions from reporters who asked whether he would like mourdock to pull the endorsement spot.
any sudden movement could alter what is almost a tie in ohio. the latest cnn poll of polls has president obama with a slight edge, but polls also show the president is far ahead among voters who have already cast their ballots, which is why romney and his top surrogates are surging their supporters to get busy. >> at the board of elections right now, they're oepen for business. so, how about after this event we get in our cars and we go down to broadway and vote early to be sure we can bank our votes. >> that's our jim acosta traveling in northwest ohio for us this evening. ohio may be won or lost on the issue of jobs and the economy. take a look at this, the ohio unemployment rate was 7% in september 2008, shortly before barack obama won the state and the election. it climbed then above 10% a year later. but it's fallen since then. ohio's jobless rate was back at 7% last month. we will have one more job's
report, wolf, before the election. >> the friday before the election. thanks for that. so, did the president mean to insult mitt romney? i'll ask the president's senior adviser david axelrod about the controversial remark. a new explanation about the deadly attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. libya, the pentagon chief on why american troops did not intervene. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help people and businesses who were affected, and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy -- and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. we've shared what we've learned with governments and across the industry so we can all produce energy more safely. i want you to know, there's another commitment bp takes just as seriously: our commitment to america. bp supports nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs in communities across the country.
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in some of his most expansive comments yet on benghazi in the situation, they had ships off the coast of libya, but, ultimately, that this attack only lasted a few hours and by the time u.s. officials had figured out exactly what was happening, it was over. >> basic principle is that you don't supply horses into man's way without knowing what's going on. without having real-time information about what is taking place. as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground or in that area, general dempsey and i felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation. >> i also spoke with the defense official who put this in somewhat context. he said he couldn't get into the specific response times of those response teams because it's
qualified. but accounting for the transportation aspect of it, physically impossible for them to get to spain to intervene in that attack. secretary panetta made comments today criticizing what he called "monday morning quarterbacking." the official i spoke with said this was aimed not only at the criticism from capitol hill, but pundi pundits, as well, who want to go back and say, take another look at what happened in the decisions that were made. he said that when you looked at everything, when you looked at the movie, the fact that it was 9/11 and various areas and you had trouble in various spots around the world, he said the u.s. military was not a "fire department" that could be anywhere in the world and run to the rescue within a matter of hours. and i think you're hearing some of that pushback coming from the pentagon now, kate. >> you heard some of the same push back coming from the state department, as well. chris, also reports that a drone
overhead saw the attack. did they offer any clarity on that? >> they did. secretary panetta confirmed there was a drone in the area and i talked to sources here who said that drone was not flying directly over the area when the attack started, but that it was diverted and moved over the attack. it got there in time to see what was going on, but the official i talked to said what it was seeing was buildings, a lot of fires, a lot of chaos on the ground. he said it was very hard for them to discern exactly what was going on. he said, yes, there were u.s. security forces on the ground who had eyes on the scene, but they were in a firefight, not able to provide a situation of awareness report, kate. >> we'll continue to follow it. chris lawrence at the pentagon, thank you. other news. the east coast fbracing for a halloween. frankenstorm. you're looking at pictures from
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the northeast u.s. is being warned to prepare for a monster storm. kate's got more on that and some of the day's other top stories. >> quite a memorable name it has it has been dubbed frankenstorm since it's likely to hit just before halloween. taking a look at live pictures. you can see the camera even blowing around. it's possibly hitting on halloween, but nothing funny about it. hurricane sandy is expected to merge with another system forming a nor'easter that could bring hurricane-force winds to new york, washington or anywhere in between.
massive power outages are possible and chad myers says now is the time to prepare. >> people were relating it to a perfect storm or the perfect storm from 1991. that storm was a big low that was going to make snow that sucked in a hurricane. this is a hurricane that is going to really suck in another big cold front or another low-pressure system. so, it's the exact opposite of what was the perfect storm, but close enough. you still get this what we call hybrid. winds 80 miles per hour, 90 miles per hour, d.c., baltimore, maybe new york city, power will be out for a long time. think about what it would take if on monday you had to camp until friday in your house. no power, no water. think about camping. those are the things you want to have available for your family. >> stay with cnn over the weekend for the latest updates on hurricane sandy as it closes in on the northeast. also, we are monitoring the situation in syria where a cease-fire was set to go into
effect at the top of the hour. the regime and the main rebel force have agreed to stop fighting until monday during the muslim holiday marking the end of the hajj but reuters reports hours ahead of the cease-fire syrian troops were shelling a neighborhood in damascus. apple is out with results for its fiscal fourth quarter. take a look at this. the company reported $36 billion in revenue and $8.2 billion in profit. much of it, thanks to demand for the new iphone 5, but the numbers fell short of wall street expectations and at last check, apple stock was down in after-hours trading. you have this young man to thank. if you notice something different or unusual during this sunday's jets/dolphins game. he wrote to the nfl commissioner suggesting the league use pink penalty flags to draw attention to breast cancer awareness month. roger goodell approved the idea and donte and his family will be his guests at the game shows one
person can make a difference. >> including donte. >> i'm going to watch that game. >> you would watch regardless, i know. but i will watch it, as well. >> thank you, donte. the romney camp says president obama is stuck playing defense. i'm going to ask obama senior campaign adviser david axelrod about the campaign's confidence level right now. >> we don't think there's one battleground state where we're not well in the game and we think we're leading in most of them. we've got the ball, we've got the lead and we're going to execute and we're going to win. you've been busy for a dead man.
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his re-election campaign. david, thank you very much for coming in. >> sure, wolf. good to be with you. >> the comments the president made at that "rolling stone" article, the interview he gave causing a bit of a stir. angry reactions from republicans, including romney. for our viewers not familiar, in the article, the president was talking about some young people who support him and he said, you know, kids have good instincts. they look at the other guy and say, well, that's a -- and then he used an expletive, i can tell. i just wanted to clarify, i assume the president did say, did use that word. >> i assume so. that's a transcript. i have no reason to dispute it. >> was he referring directly to mitt romney? >> well, i think he was referring to the practice of sliding around, trying to change positions. to offering yourself pummeling
the middle class and trying to walk away from positions in the 11th hour. i think he was referring to that and i think, if they're reacting strongly to it, it likely has something to do with our own self consciousness about what their strategy and tactics have been. all of you have done stories on it. everybody has noticed it. it was the story of the last couple of debates. all the debates, really. so, it shouldn't come as a great surprise. >> because kevin madden, senior adviser to the romney campaign issued a statement a little while ago. he said president obama is rattled and on the defensive. he is running on empty and has nothing left but attacks and insu insults. that's kevin madden, an adviser to the romney campaign. >> well, look, i understand we are in the final days of the campaign and they're going to do their posturing and so on president is out there on the stump every day making a a
strong case for we have to go as a country and the kind of investments we have to make in education, energy, research and development and in the middle class in this country, manufacturing. and he's pointing the way to the future and these guys, frankly, are spinning their wheels because they know they're losing their race and they're behind in virtually all of the battleground states and time is running out, so, you know, a lot of things are going it be said in the final days of the campaign. what matters is what's going on out there in the country and we're really encourages by what we see. >> "des moines register" had a headline, obama sharpens criticism and romney expresses optimism and i'll play a little clip of what romney has been saying about the president out there on the campaign trail. listen to this. >> he has now resorted to talking about saving characters on "sesame street" and word games and, of course, he continues to launch these misdirected attacks at me and he knows they're not accurate and
not making much progress for him. so his campaign gets smaller and smaller, focused on smaller and smaller things. >> they're saying that the president is diminishing the office of the presidency, which is pretty strong words. >> well, those are strong words. they don't mean a whole heck of a lot because they don't reflect what's going on out there. i haven't seen governor romney on the trail with us. he's not traveling with us and he really doesn't know, perhaps, what the president is saying and doing. or perhaps he does and it concerns him. the president is making a strong case for what we need to do to rebuild the middle class in this country and the kind of prescription for a genuine, genuinely strong economy and governor romney, you know, he says i represent change. he represents an echoed of a failed past. he's offering the same prescriptions that got us into this mess in the first place. big tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling back rules on wall street and he wants to talk about anything but that and i understand that because that's a
losing formula and now the american people have concluded that. in the 11th hour of the campaign he's out there, you know, on about things that aren't central to people's concerns. >> they are also saying that this new brochure that you guys just released in the last two weeks of the campaign, the new economic patriotism plan for jobs and middle class security. about a 30-page booklet outlining what the president would hope to achieve over the next four years. why wait until two weeks before the election to release a booklet like this? >> because we're in the last two weeks of the election and there are people out there who are making their final decisions, not a lot. 5% to 10%, probably. making final decisions in this race and we wanted them as they made their final decisions to take a very hard look at where we would take the country and where mitt romney would take the country and it's valuable for them to have this in their hands to make that contrast. all the ideas that are in that
are the ones that the president has been campaigning on in this campaign. it's the ideas that he's been working towards as president and, so, not that the ideas are new and they've been posted on our website for quite a long time. but we wanted people who are going to vote and were making their last-minute decisions to physically have it in their hand so that they could focus on it as they make their final choice. the romney campaign has what they call a five-point plan. but they have chapter heads and nothing underneath it. no plan to revitalize our education system. no real plan on energy other than to give the oil companies everything that they're asking for, including continued subs y subsidies, but nothing for new energy. as you go down and, of course, the biggest whopper, they're going to take care of our deficits when they propose $7 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and pentagon spending
for which they have no plan to pay. saying you have a plan for the future doesn't mean you do. what he has, the one-point plan the president has been talking about. which is the same plan that got us into this mess in the first place. >> the main argument that they're making, did it in his opening remarks in the last debate, is that more people are unemployed, more people are on food stamps and more people are in poverty right now than they were four years ago. why re-elect the president who has a dismal record, they say, like this. >> the reason they're behind in this race, wolf, that's been their mantra from the beginning. everybody in this country know where we were when this president took office and understands we're in a better place now, we have more work to do, but the last thing we need to do is go back to the tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulating wall street and taking care of folks at the top and abandoning the middle class. that's essentialthy strategy that got us in the mess that we
were in the day the president walked through the door. they're not gaining much traction with that argument. what people are looking for is a vision for how we rebuild this economy and continue this recovery and strengthen the middle class and the president has offered specific ideas to do that that are real and credible and achievable and that's something governor romney has not done. >> we're looking at the polls right now. among white voters, the president last time around got 43%. right now he's polling around 40%. what do your polls show you among white voters nationwide how the president will do? >> i think we're doing, we're doing well, wolf. i think we will approach the number numbers of the last campaign. certainly numbers we need among all the cohorts in the election. as you look across these battleground states we're even or ahead in all of them for a reason.
you know, we've made the case. governor romney's made his and now people are drawing their conclusions. one of the things that we've watched closely is early voting around the country. and then every single state where it's going on, the pattern suggests the president is doing very, very well in those early votes. so, at this point, i'm less interested in the polling and more interested in the tangible acts of voting that are going on by the millions across the country because, in some states, you know, large numbers of votes have already been cast. and we feel we have a strong advantage in that voting. >> one final question before i let you go. north carolina, paul begala the other day on our show said the president has basically given up on north carolina. we have moved our cnn electoral map north carolina no longer a toss-up leaning romney right now. the president hasn't been there, i don't believe, since the convention in charlotte.
doesn't look like he's going to go there. have you given up on north carolina? >> well, wolf, absolutely -- in fact, we just invested more money a in our television campaign there. we registered 350,000 new voters in north carolina during the course of this year. and the early voting patterns to us are very, very encouraging. so, you know, i love paul, i think he's a brilliant guy. he's just wrong about this particular point. we don't think there's one battleground state where we're not well in the game and we think we're leading in most of them. you saw two polls in the last two days. one in the time poll in ohio had us ahead by five points. today a ppp poll, up five points in virginia. so, we're very, we're encouraged by everything that we see. we're going to work hard. the president is on a 48-hour campaign swing right now. we're going to work hard until the very last moment until the very last vote is cast. but, we've got the ball.
we've got the lead and we're going to execute and we're going to win. >> david axelrod from the obama campaign, thanks very much for joining us. >> all right, wolf, good to be with you. there are certainly a lot in that interview with candy crowley and gloria borger to discuss. about to get a bunch of new polls on the race from two crittal battleground states. if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers
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we heard from obama campaign adviser david axelrod and kate is here, watching what is going on. the bad language unusual for a president. candy crowley is here and gloria borger is here. how much grief potentially could the bad word bull, you know the expletive -- >> i think you just put it. do you want your president out there saying stuff like that? no. but on the other hand, look at the time and place. "rolling stone" and one of those laid back things. i just don't think these little catch phrases this goes into the daily mix. but i don't think it moves people one way or the other. >> he was talking, gloria, about his republican presidential rival, if you will. not just using that word. >> yes, guess what, he doesn't like him. we always say, gee, we wish our politicians were more candid and then when he actually has a candid moment we're like, oh, my
god, he had a candid moment. isn't that terrible? i think it sort of goes away and not a surprise to anybody that these two men don't like each other. >> let's look at new polls we just released new nbc/"marist" polls of nevada and colorado. first here, we're looking at colorado. obama 50% and romney with 47%. obama with a three-point lead and colorado they're absolutely tied. what does that tell you? these are two battlegrounds that we've been watching closely. >> i think and with the nevada poll, there's a sampling error of three points. so, it's tied. when you look at colorado voters, i think what you see when you look at the internal of the polls is that mitt romney is probably doing better with independents than he was and he's doing a little bit better with women than he was, which is why, which is why these are tied. >> looks like the president is underperforming with men, as well. >> exactly. so, that's an issue that, you
know, the president needs to really overperform with women, if mitt romney is doing well with men. so, i think this is where the country is. it's split. >> kind of greater forces what we have been really saying -- >> tied race. >> month and months now. >> i'm surprised nevada which has a lot of hispanics and a lot of union workers and the economy is bad. >> really awful economy. i mean -- awful. >> that's why it's so close. the president, if you look at the demographics, should be way ahead. >> but, again, when you say the economy, things that hit home. the jobless rate and home foreclosures. everything that could go wrong has gone wrong in nevada, but the demographics definitely favor the president. >> and harry reid is in nevada with a great organization that helped him in his re-election last time around. what's interesting, also, that you have a large mormon community in nevada, which may split.
the harry reid mormons versus the mitt romneys. >> i don't think this reflects harry reid quite yet. let's see what happens on election day. >> we were talking on the break, also, i don't think we have a graphic of this. abc news/"washington post" tracking poll that shows mitt romney hit the 50% mark for the first time. >> that's going to be very good news to the romney campaign. >> this is national. >> it's nationally. again, we have to look at the battleground states. we should preface everything we say by that. but the internals of this poll are very interesting to me because on the economy, who is better able to manage the economy, mitt romney, 52-43. and on economic empathy, which is who understands my problems, which mitt romney has always been doing very poorly on throughout this entire campaign, he's only two points behind the president on that number. so, that leads me to believe that independent voters are shifting to a great degree towards mitt romney on the
economic issues. so, his economic message is getting -- >> romney showing that empathy. >> they have a couple good, maybe crossroads has one of the ads out. i've seen ads in virginia that are dynamite ads. just in terms of real empathy. i think one of the things about the tracking poll is just where the president is. yes mitt romney has 50, but for the president to be under 50 -- >> he's at 47. >> i read today karl rove writing in "wall street journal" he said undecided voters at this stage almost always break in bigger numbers for the challenger to the incumbent. >> yeah, i've heard both ways, actually. i've heard people kind of argue this both ways. they have charts and, you know, everything dating back to the second inaugieration and, yes, it makes sense that the person who is most well known is not the one that the undecided will break for. they know the president a lot better. that's the theory behind it.
we'll see, this may be one of those elections that we have so many historical markers we put up there. no president has ever won with an unemployment rate this high. you can't win as a republican, unless you win ohio. well, yeah, until all of a sudden you can't. >> i think what we have to say, though, in looking at all these polls is that mitt romney had a good october. right? >> he clearly had a good october. >> good fund-raising october. >> first debate was great for him. >> first debate was great for him and he had a good month. whether he'll keep that momentum. >> we have 12 days to go. thanks very much. with the federal debt on the rise, some powerful ceos is now revealing what they're willing to sacrifice to help balance america's books. an important report coming up. president obama: there's just no quit in america...
and you're seeing that right now. over five million new jobs. exports up forty one percent. home values... rising. our auto industry... back. and our heroes are coming home. we're not there yet, but we've made real progress and the... last thing we should do is turn back now. here's my plan for the next four years: making education and training a national priority; building on our manufacturing boom; boosting american-made energy; reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where... we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. and ending the war in afghanistan, so we can... do some nation-building here at home.
it's time to find out what is happening out front tonight. erin burnett is joining us. give us a preview. >> nate silver is going to be our guest and really break down the map because as we've been asking this crucial question. can romney do it without ohio? has his momentum fallen or is it surging? nate silver with the answers going to come up at the top of the hour. plus, kate, the president has made some very serious promises on how much he will cut the deficit and how he's going to do it. we did the math, the campaign called us and said we want to take issue with some of that and chris van hollen is going to be our guest exclusively top of the hour to break it all down. that's coming up in a few minutes. back to you. >> we'll be there.
thanks, air aen. >> see you. >> he played paul ryan in the debate preparation for joe biden. mitt romney likes to make the point that when he was a corporate executive he had to balance his books. >> now dozens of powerful business leaders are pressuring political leaders to stop bickering about the federal debt. lisa sylvester has more on that story. hey, there, lisa. >> hi, kate. something we're hearing from ceos across the country is that the current u.s. debt level is simply not sustainable any more. take a look at this. you can see this is our national debt level, $5.6 trillion in 2000. it has now gone up to $16 trillion and business leaders are saying it's time for democrats and republicans to compromise. ringing the bell of the new york stock exchange -- while sounding the alarm over the nation's growing debt. more than 80 of the country's largest ceos are urging lawmakers to reach a bipartisan agreement to bring down the nation's debt level. and they're pushing the most
controversial methods. raising tax revenue, ending tax deductions and reducing spending on medicaid and medicare. among them, david honeywell international. >> there needs to be compromise, and compromise, not being a dirty word, but rather being synonymous with governing. so, yes, i recognize my taxes are going up. i haven't developed a table that says i'll be willing to pay this much more if you're willing to cut this much more. who knows where that's going to go? but i would say most companies, most people, expect they're probably going to have to pay more. >> reporter: an increasing number of ceos are going on record they're willing to pay more in taxes to avert the so-called fiscal cliff as part of a comprehensive plan. if congress fails to act by january, it will trigger $600 billion worth of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that includes drastic cuts to defense spending, businesses not certain of what lies ahead have been reluctant to increase payrolls. >> we stop hiring externally.
we just -- as jobs -- as people leave the positions, we don't fill those jobs. as you look at capital expenditures, we start to slow down our cap x spending. and you see most companies do that now. because when you run into an uncertain time, you just question everything. >> reporter: and coal gate is cutting 2,300 workers. ford is scaling back its european operations and laying off 4,300 people. hp is cutting 27,000 employees, or 8% of its total work force. of former senator, al simpson, former white house chief of staff erskine bowls offered a debt reduction plan in 2010 that at the time was panned by congress and largely ignored by president obama. but the campaign to fix the debt now sees the simpson/bowles as a possible blueprint for solving the debt crisis. >> the policies to fix the problem are out there, the political will not so much yet. and so we will get behind any plan that both parties, house, senate, president, can work
together on and move forward, hopefully in a real timely manner. >> we received a statement from senator simpson who said he and erskine bowls are pleased there is a recognition between the public and business leaders something has to be done about the problem. and he added, quote, fixing the debt will demand that americans accept some sacrifices in the things they may like for the good of the country. last week, we ran a story about ceos sending letters to their employees, urging them to vote a particular way in the presidential election. in that story, we mentioned coke industry's president sending a letter to his employees. his letter about the upcoming election in search of candidates are elected, quote, many of our more than 50,000 u.s. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation and other ills. now, we stated in our story the letter was referring to president obama. but the letter never mentions president obama by name. we also stated that coke industries did not return our
calls, but they did call shortly before air time. unfortunately, we did not retrieve the message until after the report aired. kate? >> lisa sylvester, thank you so much. still ahead, donald trump's big announcement backfires. what was he thinking? jeanne moos has the reaction. planning a life. there are risks, sure. but, there's no reward without it. i want to be prepared for the long haul. i see a world bursting with opportunities. india, china, brazil, ishares, small-caps, large-caps, ishares. industrials. low cost. every dollar counts. ishares. income. dividends. bonds. i like bonds. ishares. commodities. diversification. choices. my own ideas. ishares. i want to use the same stuff the big guys use. ishares. 8 out of 10 large, professional investors choose ishares for their etfs. introducing the ishares core, etfs for the heart of your portfolio. tax efficient and low cost building blocks to help you keep more of what you earn.
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sanctua sanctuary. you can sleep well. you were losing sleep. >> he's going to be in a sank area. that's good. donald trump's october surprise turns into a flop. reactions rolling in. and cnn's jueanne moos runs through them for us. >> reporter: the donald better duck. >> his bombshell announcement. >> reporter: the bombshell seems to have landed on trump. >> donald trump is a circus act. >> i believe we have the footage. >> reporter: from a gorilla on jon stewart, he was morphed into a donkey by the "new york daily news." his offer of a check to charity -- >> for $5 million. >> reporter: if president obama would release school and passport records. reminded the folks at college humor of a certain someone. >> $1 million. >> reporter: and pressto-changeo, the donald was dr. evil. there were counter proposals, some too raunchy for the news.
>> one million actual dollars. if you will let me -- [ bleep ]. >> and i said, hey, don, i'll give you $5 million, if you release that thing on your head. let it go! >> reporter: on jimmy kimmel's show, the donald ended up playing the great trumpkin from the pumpkin patch. >> what's that? >> a check for $5 million. >> huh? >> what the [ bleep ] was that? >> reporter: but the one that was almost painful to watch, the one that had to hurt the most, came from an old friend of donald's. >> i want to say it to his face. donald, you're making a full of yourself. >> reporter: tweeting at barbara walters, you just don't get it. he suggested she end up apologizing to him. why did you choose me as one of the ten most fascinating people of the year? from one top ten to another. >> the number-one lame october surprise, donald trump offering
$5 million to unearth anyone who still takes him seriously. there you go. >> but trump insisted. >> the response has been unbelievable. i've had tremendous praise. >> at least ann calleder came through. >> i totally love it, i support donald trump. we need somebody like donald trump on our side. >> reporter: the only thing released by president obama was a zinger when less thanno asked him, what's with you and trump? >> this all dates back to when we were growing up back in kenya. >> reporter: between the president's mockery and barbara's scolding -- >> stop it. get off it, donald. >> get off it, before you get taken off. of the tonight show. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> very funny. i don't know why donald trump keeps doing this. >> he is the master of staying in the headlines, and trying to stay relevant. very good at it. >> all right. >> a lot of bleeping on our show today. >> pretty funny. bad words.